Joy Comes From Within
Published on March 16, 2009 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Religion

I was privileged to hear a great message the other day from a Pastor in my area.  There's not too many Pastors around here worth listening to these days as they have so watered down the truth it's hardly recognizable anymore especially in these days of the Prosperity Gospel being preached all over the airwaves. 

His message was one of being joyful no matter the trials and tribulations we may go through.  Joy in our trials?  Yes we can have joy and rejoice in our trials no matter what befalls us if we can have the right perspective.  Many are going through such trials right now with the job market, stock market and supermarket being as it is. 

New Testament writer and Apostle Paul writing to the spiritually immature Corinthians in the first century had this to say: 

"And now brothers we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  Out of the most severe trial their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability. " 2 Cor 8:1-3

History tells us this was a time of great famine in the Middle East and especially hard hit were those in Jerusalem.  So everywhere Paul went he encouraged the churches to help provide for the starving church in Jerusalem.   Exclusively here in this chapter, and the next, Paul is speaking to a wealthy church and using a poor struggling Macedonia church as an example to them in their giving. 

We can see by Paul's words above the condition of those in Macedonia.  Notice the contrast.  They had great trial of afflication yet they had  abundant joy.   They had great poverty yet they gave liberally.  How can this happen? 

The answer is found in the beginning....."by the grace of God."  This is the evidence of whom they belong to.  When we experience trials the first thing to go is our joy.  When we get squeezed financially the first thing to go is our giving.  We need to learn what these poor Christians in Macodenia had a handle on or look upon the poor old widow who gave all she had as an example of where we should be by the Grace of God. 

In the Greek the word affliction or tribulation, is the word thlipsis.  It means "to press" a term used for pressing out grapes in a winepress.  This suggests the heavy pressures of life that can become unbearable as though one is being trodden down until he cannot take it any longer.   

Think about a pressure cooker.  What is it's purpose?  It tenderizes right?  It can take a tough old bird and make it tender.  Why does God allow his people to suffer tribulation and trials?  To tenderize us. 

Paul also said:  "That no man should be moved by these afflictions for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.  For verily when we were with you we told you before that we should suffer tribulation even as it came to pass and you know."  1 Thess 3:3-4

We need to realize that tribulation is an appointment and we are to expect it.  When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he was in imprisoned.  It's amazing that this is considered a book of joy considering his circumstances.  Paul was a great example of exhibiting joy in the midst of some pretty severe trials. He knew what he was speaking of.  He said this in a letter to the church there at Philippi:

"For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer for his sake."  Phil 1:29.

We are to consider it a privilege to suffer for the glory of God.  Wow. Think about that the next time a trial or tribulation comes up in your life.  It can be a hard pill to swallow and is not for the faint of heart.  God will not bring us into anything we're not able to handle.  So how much can you bear for Him?  For his Glory? 

The impression when reading the letters of the early church was that tribulation was part and parcel of the Christian life.  Today most of our world understand this.  We, here in the U.S., do not.  We will.  Because I believe it's heading this way.  I believe there is a biblical reason why America has been so blessed up until now.  With our lawgivers and controllers things are turning around and we should not be surprised as we see these blessings disappear.  There are tough times ahead. Severe trials and tribulations are on the horizon as we catch up with the rest of the world. 

If we don't realize and recognize that small problems steal our joy, real tribulation could be a challange in our walk in the days to come.  So how can we have this joy regardless of our circumstances? 

Joy is based on knowledge; knowing truth, taking the truth, believing the truth, embracing the truth and having faith in the truth.   Paul also said this:

"Blessed be God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.  Who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  2 Cor 1:3-4. 

So we read that he's with us regardless of our circumstances.  The Macadonians understood this.  They knew regardless of their trials and afflictions that God was with them.  Nothing can be done to us unless God allows it.  Nonetheless He will be with us through it.   Paul, writing to the Romans made a powerful statement when he said:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?  As it is written for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  No, in all these things we are more than (over) conquerors through him that loved us."  Romans 8:35-37. 

There is nothing that can separate the trial of God from the love of God .  Can you imagine God allowing his people to be killed?  Sometimes we feel we must not be blessed as we go through the trials of life since we feel it must be of Satan.  We must not forget that tribulation will never separate us from God's love.  No matter how severe the trial He will not leave us.  That's a hope and a promise the unbelievers cannot understand and comprehend. 

So no matter what happens to me next year God will be there and he'll love me through it.  We can consider trials and tribulations as going through God's classroom.  Paul said this:

Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ By whom we also have access to faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that the tribulation works patience."  Romans 5:1-3.

To these already saved Christians Paul is saying they can even glory in tribulation.  Not there yet?  Well at least we know the direction God is moving us in.  These trying times teach us endurance.  It's never been about a sprint but a marathon.  It's important for God to teach us spiritual endurance.  He has no interest in spiritually immature spoiled brats.  His desire is that we become mature seasoned saints to give him glory in a very dark lost world no matter what this world and Satan throw our way.  God is stretching us and growing us up.  When He pokes us in a trial, what comes out is a good indication of where we are in the process. 

Think about it.  How are you doing?  I know I've got work to do. 

"Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you.  I am filled with comfort.  I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation"  2 Cor 7:4

Can you imagine?  Can you imagine not only being joyful during these times but to say you are exceeding joyful?  That's a place I want to be.  No matter the trial, no matter the affliction I want to say that I am joyful in spite of it all because I know thru it all God is right here with me and He is glorified in it all. 

Regardless of what you're going through in this life, there is a God who desires to cover you with HIS Grace. 


on Apr 02, 2009

Winston Churchill was speaking to the House of Commons one day when he gave this advice:

 “We must always be ready to meet at our average moment, the thing that any possible enemy could hurl against us at his selected moment.”

Satan could hurl a deadly temptation at you at any given moment. The phone could ring with terrible news about a friend. A police officer could knock on your door to inform you of a tragedy in your family. Trials can come with such a force that they blow you off course. Temptation can strike at your backside and almost give you whiplash! It is not God’s will that you have a vacancy of temptation or trials but that you have victory in temptation and trials.

A. Rogers. 

on Apr 13, 2009

speaking about being in a pressure cooker during these times.....I was reading this Easter weekend the story of Christ going into the garden Gethsemane before he would be apprehended.  I didn't realize this before but the word "Gethsemane"  means "olive press."  The thought of olives being squeezed for their oil is quite an amazing analogy used here. 

It says in Luke that Christ, while praying, was in agony and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. 

That's what personal tribulation can look like in very extreme cases.  In any case, going thru these times is like extreme pressure to our souls which can only be relieved when the circumstances change. It's then we realize just how strong we are when God is by our side.